When it comes to making the most of a workout, most people tend to focus only on the 45-90 minutes that they’re actively training.
But, the truth is that crushing your workouts and getting results is a round-the-clock process.
Here are six habits to follow each and every day that will improve your workouts!
#1 Get Enough Quality Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important things to not only push hard in your workouts but to recover efficiently, which ultimately dictates the quality and speed of your results.
In other words, if you want to be able to train harder and more frequently with greater recovery and results, then you want to make absolutely certain that you’re getting enough sleep each and every night.
Far too many individuals eschew sleep with the callous, careless attitude that they’ll “sleep when they’re dead” or that “sleep is for babies and old people.”
But, truth be told, sleep is when our body repairs the stress inflicted upon it, both physically and mentally, from daily life. Sleep also is the time when production of anabolic hormones is maximized, which accelerates the muscle recovery, repair, and growth processes.
On the flip side, not getting enough sleep is known to:
- Impair recovery
- Increase protein breakdown
- Decrease protein synthesis
- Increase feelings of hunger
- Decrease feelings of satiety
- Reduce motivation to exercise
- Reduce energy expenditure
- Increase irritability
- Decrease cognitive function
Essentially, everything that you wouldn’t want to go wrong does when you don’t get enough sleep.
If you need help getting enough sleep each night, consider the following tips:
- Go to bed at the same time every night (even on weekends)
- Establish a bedtime ritual to signal to your body it’s time to get ready for sleep
- Avoid/limit blue light exposure 2 hours before bed
- Avoid stimulants and alcohol in the hours leading up to bed
- Limit/avoid acute stressors before bed (social media, texts, emails, news channels, etc.)
- Stretch, meditate, journal, and/or pray
- Have a cup of herbal tea
- Take a warm bath
You can also use a natural nighttime relaxation and recovery aid, such as 1UP Beauty Dream or Recharge PM. Our men’s and women’s nighttime recovery formulas are designed using natural ingredients to promote feelings of calm, relaxation helping you achieve the deep, restorative sleep you need to get results without leaving you feeling groggy the next morning.
We all know that hydration plays a critical role in both physical and mental performance.
However, far too often, individuals think that it’s only important to focus on drinking enough water immediately before the workout.
The truth is that maintaining proper hydration is a 24-hour process.
Furthermore, drinking water is only part of staying sufficiently hydrated...you also need to make sure that you’re consuming enough essential electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
You can get these essential minerals by eating a nutrient-rich diet built on a foundation of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and healthy fats.
#3 Have a Quality Pre Workout Meal
Fasted training has become a popular trend in fitness over the past few years, but the simple truth of the matter is that not properly fueling prior to your workouts can limit performance and endurance, increase the onset of fatigue, and increase protein breakdown (which impairs recovery and hinders muscle growth).
Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a pre workout meal an hour or two before training.
Now, the size and composition of the pre workout meal will vary between individuals. Some people will like a very big pre workout meal, while others want something very light.
The style of workout also dictates what your pre workout meal will look like too. If you’re just going for a long walk, you don’t really need a pre workout meal (or pre workout supplement, which we’ll get to next). Your body has more than enough energy for low-level activities.
Now, if you’re doing a more demanding workout like resistance training, group fitness classes, or CrossFit-style workouts, you’ll want to have a pre workout meal that includes protein and carbohydrates.
One of our favorite, easy-to-fix pre workout meals is a scoop of 1UP Whey protein mixed into a serving of oatmeal. For an added energy boost, you can mix in a serving of frozen berries and/or chopped walnuts.
If you want something even quicker to fix and faster to digest, you can make a simple pre workout protein smoothie made with milk, protein powder, nut butter, and a half banana.
Now, if you’re someone who likes to train immediately upon waking and doesn’t have the time or desire to eat something before hand, it would be good to at least have a whey protein shake before training, or (at the very least) a serving of essential amino acids, like Her BCAA/EAA or His BCAA/EAA.
#4 Pre Workout Supplementation
Just about anyone who regularly hits the gym has a certain pre workout ritual, which inevitably entails having a serving of their favorite pre workout.
The purpose of pre workouts is to increase energy, boost focus, enhance performance, and delay the onset of fatigue.
Staple ingredients of pre workouts supplements known to improve workout performance include caffeine, L-citrulline, and beta alanine...each of which can be found at the right dose in our women’s and men’s pre workouts, 1UP Pre Women and 1UP Pre Men.
For particularly long training sessions, or for those of you who may not have had time to eat before training, it may be helpful to sip on an intra workout supplement, such as 1UP Tri-Carb, which contains a precise mix of fast-digesting carbohydrates to support energy production and delay the onset of fatigue, ultimately helping you to train harder and last longer in your training sessions.
#5 Review Your Previous Workout
Training hard is an important part of getting results, but simply doing a lot of work in the gym isn’t enough to ensure you’re actually gaining strength and building muscle.
In order to build muscle and gain strength, you have to employ progressive overload, which essentially entails forcing your muscles to do more work than they have previously.
And, the only way to know with relative certainty that you’re actually doing more than you previously have is to track your workouts and then review those numbers before you training session.
This way you know what weight to use and how many reps you need to try to complete (with good technique) so you can overload the muscles and force them to adapt.
When it comes to logging your workouts, many individuals opt for the “old school” method of using a log book (pen & paper), which has stood the test of time and remains an extremely effective way to track your progress in the gym.
You can also use the FREE 1UP Fitness App, which is available on Apple and Google Play, to track your workout progress.
The 1UP Fitness App is a comprehensive health and fitness app that allows you to track nutrition, training, and progress. The app also allows you to set and receive reminders about your nutrition, training, supplementation and progress update to keep you on track!
You can even enter our Transformation Challenge where we award $50,000 in Cash and Prizes to 10 Total WINNERS.
#6 Warm Up Properly
The final part to making the most of your workout is to perform a proper warm up.
Warm ups serve to prime the muscles, joints, ligaments, and connective tissue as well as the nervous system for the intense work ahead.
This allows your body (both mentally and physically) to be “firing on all cylinders” when it’s time to get to work.
For a long time, static stretching was considered a “staple” of proper warm ups. However, recent studies indicate that too much/too intense static stretching can actually reduce force output during training. Plus, resistance training has also been noted to be as effective as static stretching for improving flexibility.
All of this is to say that static stretching (at best) has little beneficial impact on your workout. Instead, focus on increasing core temperature and circulation through a mixture of aerobic activity and dynamic warm ups, such as jumping jacks, leg swings, bodyweight circuits, etc.
A simple, yet rather effective warm up, is to do 5 minutes of aerobic activity (jumping rope, bodyweight circuits, using a piece of cardio equipment) followed by some dynamic stretching that focuses on the body parts you’re about to train. Then, jump right into the warm up sets for your first exercise.
This accomplishes everything an effective warm up should.
Now that you know the six habits to effective workouts, it’s time to implement them into your daily life.
By following these tips, eating according to your nutrition plant, and using the right supplements, you'll perform better in your workouts and get better results!
During your journey, don’t forget that we’re always available for motivation, help and guidance through the 1UP Fitness App, which gives nutrition suggestions as well as allows you to track workouts and view exercises to make sure you’re getting the most of your time in the gym as well as in the kitchen!